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Here’s how the Scottish local elections could be won or lost across Courier Country

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As the council election campaigning comes to an end, it is all to play for across Tayside and Fife.

The SNP are confident of claiming victory nationally but there could be some surprises in Courier Country.

The Conservatives hold minority control of Perth and Kinross Council and make up the bulk of a Tory-Independent administration in Angus.

The SNP have their sights set on both, with a number of local scandals and a law-breaking prime minister threatening to upset the established order.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party are certain to finish on top in Dundee – but will they be able to get a majority over the line? If so, it could be the only one anywhere in Scotland.

In Fife the ruling SNP-Labour administration will come to an end, so there is certain to be some tense negotiations following the results.

Here we take look at how the local elections could be won and lost across your region, with analysis from elections expert Alan Faulds.

Dundee City Council

The SNP are the only party standing enough candidates to win a majority in Dundee.

Local party data suggests things are looking pretty rosy so far but the question is whether they can get that majority over the line.

Their main targets are in the West End and Broughty Ferry – both of which will be a tough ask.

But high-profile candidate Nadia El-Nakla, a long-time party staffer who lives in the city with husband Humza Yousaf, will add an interesting dynamic.

Humza Yousaf MSP and Nadia El-Nakla.
Humza Yousaf MSP and Nadia El-Nakla.

Another seat to keep an eye on is Lord Provost Ian Borthwick’s.

He is an independent councillor but lent his support to the SNP to form an administration in 2017.

A by-election victory for the SNP in 2019 saw them drop Mr Borthwick’s support as this meant they had an outright majority.

He is not standing this year and early signs point to the Lib Dems taking control of his Strathmartine seat.

Allan Faulds, who runs polling website Ballot Box Scotland, said the 2017 council election was a relative low point for the SNP, particularly in Tayside.

He is expecting a “slow and steady” improvement this year, and for the Conservatives to do worse nationally.

Watch Dundee council candidates answer your questions on schools, scandals and cost of living

Mr Faulds said: “In Dundee, the SNP were only one seat short of a majority in 2017  – so there is a very strong chance they will be one of the only councils in Scotland with a majority, if not the only one.

“The SNP is likely to be the largest party in Dundee and if not, the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems may have a majority between them.

“But given we know Labour won’t do any coalitions, an SNP administration is most likely.”

Recent scandals over the Olympia swimming pool, expensive roofing repairs, and a row over a candidate who shouted abuse at the Pope and called 9/11 an “inside job” pose the biggest risks to the SNP’s chances of success.

Perth and Kinross Council

Perth and Kinross Council is definitely one to watch at this election.

Despite holding Westminster and Holyrood seats in the area for decades, the SNP lost out to the Conservatives in 2017.

Table showing voting intentions.
Table showing voting intentions.

There is a chance the SNP could make a comeback here – but it will be tight.

Nicola Sturgeon says she is “optimistic” people in Perthshire with turn on the Tories after partygate and vote her party into power.

But Independents on the council have a loud voice, as do the Liberal Democrats, so it could be last minute deals that decide who takes overall control.

Watch Perth and Kinross Council candidates answer your questions on cost of living, high streets and battle for control

Mr Faulds said: “In 2017, the Conservatives did very well in Perth and Kinross, and the next month they went on to gain a Westminster seat there too.

“There is probably a reasonable chance the SNP will come first in votes and in seats in Perth and Kinross because they have made a recovery, but it is likely to be even closer than it was in 2017.

“It could only be a couple of percent separating the Conservatives and the SNP, with only one or two seats to take the lead.

“But my expectation is it is going to be the SNP who lead there.”

Table showing results from the 2017 local elections.
Table showing results from the 2017 local elections.

Labour have been pushing hard to make progress on their single member at this election but the Greens are also worth watching.

They came third in Perth and Kinross at the Scottish Parliament election last year.

Angus Council

Independents could once again hold the balance of power in Angus.

In 2017, 10 Independents were elected and six of them went onto form a coalition with seven Conservatives and a Lib Dem.

Many of those independents are looking to be re-elected this time.

The SNP is hoping to make advances and it was no coincidence Nicola Sturgeon chose to visit Arbroath to kick off the final week of campaigning.

It is an area where Derek Wann, the councillor unmasked by The Courier as the man behind an anonymous Twitter troll account, is hoping to be re-elected.

Douglas Ross and Derek Wann.
Douglas Ross and Derek Wann.

The Conservatives decided to stand by Mr Wann – who preferred to go by the name Lady Whistledown on social media – and allow him to stand again.

But the council administration has been rocked by a number of other scandals, including the overthrow of former leader Bob Myles and another member being suspended for inappropriate behaviour.

It is also the first time the Greens have stood a candidate in Angus, so it will be interesting to see how voters react to their arrival on the scene.

Watch Angus Council candidates answer your questions on parking charges, schools and troll councillors

Mr Faulds said: “Elsewhere, we are seeing independents standing down.

“But in Angus only one is standing down.

“So there will be a strong independent block here compared to other blocks.

“There is a good chance a couple of independents are at risk though if the SNP have a better election.”

Fife Council

Fife Council’s ruling administration will come to an end next month regardless of what voters do at the ballot box.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has ruled out any prospect of his councillors entering into a coalition with the SNP or Conservatives.

That spells the end for the current SNP-Labour ruling group.

David Alexander, the SNP co-leader of the council, has warned that if no deal can be struck between the largest groups, the authority could grind to a halt after May 5.

Fife Council co-leaders David Alexander, left, and David Ross.
Fife Council co-leaders David Alexander, left, and David Ross.

Perhaps conveniently, he says his party is the only one with a prospect of winning an outright majority – but the political make-up of Fife means this will be difficult.

The SNP look likely to win the largest group but in 2017 the Conservatives finished just 2% behind Labour, who came in second place.

If they fail to do as well this time around, it looks likely Labour will pick up those seats rather than the SNP.

The Lib Dems will also be looking tentatively to see what gains they can make in Fife.

North East Fife has always had leanings towards the Lib Dems, with both their Holyrood and Westminster representatives coming from the party.

Mr Faulds said: “In 2017 the Lib Dems were almost wiped out outside of North East Fife, but there could be a couple of opportunities for them in the Dunfermline area.

“But that is only if the Conservatives have a bad election.”

Watch Fife Council candidates answer questions on rising bills, struggling high streets and tribal politics

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